PSL transfer window much ado about nothing

S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

Under normal circumstances one would have expected Monday's announcement by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) that the January transfer window was open to have caused a frenzy of activity.

But sadly, not so.

There are a number of reasons for this just becoming a damp squib.

It has actually been so for quite some time now.

The idea behind this concept was to allow clubs to strengthen weak departments and patch the chinks in their armoury.

This used to be the time when clubs sniffed around for players who would be free agents due to their contracts either having just ended or about to.

But what has happened in the past few seasons is that most January signings have flopped at their clubs and failed to  justify the money paid for them.

For cases in point, see what happened in the English Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester City this time last year.

Reigning champions Chelsea signed Juan Cuadrado from Italian Serie A side Fiorentina for £26.1 million, but have since loaned him out to Juventus, while City still has to realise value for the £28 million they splashed out for Wilfried Bony to Swansea in what was the biggest deal of the period.

Another downside on the South Africa market is also the fact that there is not much quality up for grabs.

Add to that a not so healthy economic climate and we are bound for a disastrous transfer period.

We are also in a season where not many players have even put up their hands for the lucrative player and footballer of the season awards.

In seasons past, by this time of the year there had already been several serious contenders.

But to be honest, apart from the Mamelodi Sundowns pair of Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly, there are no others who have been consistent enough.

Even their team-mates, Khama Billiat and Ugandan goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, who stood firmly between Kaizer Chiefs and the Telkom Knockout Cup, have only shown flashes of brilliance, quite shy of the consistency needed to compete for such awards.

It is then no wonder that indications are that the transfer window period will be dominated by players seeking some action because of inactivity at their current clubs.

These are the likes of Bongani Ndulula, David Zulu (both of Kaizer Chiefs), Phumelele Bhengu (SuperSport United), Lindokuhle Mbatha (Sundowns) and Malawian Esau Kanyenda.

Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane has already said that his club will not invade the market given the abundance of talent at his disposal.

Sundowns should rather offload some players who have seen little or no action at all this season.

So talented are the players on Sundowns' books that one coach quipped that as the club's mentor, you could easily win games with "the 11 players on the field, those on the bench and even those on the stands".

And this is no exaggeration.

But while Sundowns have enough ammunition to tackle the CAF Champions League, ever so elusive for South African clubs, Kaizer Chiefs will surely have to beef up their squad if they want to make an impression in this continental tournament.

South and Southern African clubs have not done very well in this and other continental competitions, save for Orlando Pirates who seem to have found a recipe to do well, winning it in 1995 and losing in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup last year.

So it will be interesting to see, not only which players make movements in this period, but also make an impression at their new homes.

The transfer window will close on January 29.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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